Now that March Madness has ended and the usual hopeful-yet-melancholy Brewers buzz has settled in, it’s time for the nerds to have their day. On Saturday, April 11, International TableTop Day will encourage gamers to bust out their favorite boxes full of plastic pieces, obscure themes, and rule variants printed out at work. Spawned three years ago by Wil Wheaton’s TableTop web series, the day is meant to inspire people to play games beyond the usual half-lost Monopoly sets sitting in everybody’s back closet. Several locations around the city are participating in this year’s celebration, and will boast a wide array of games ready to be tested, bought, and argued over.
Venue: 42 Lounge
The space: Though the upcoming 42 Ale House looks to be more suited for day-long games of Hansa Teutonica, this hub of Milwaukee nerd culture mixes board games and booze like no other.
The special bonus: 42 extends International TableTop Day events through Sunday, which means not doing housework for two days straight while you play Sentinels Of The Multiverse.
Milwaukee Record recommends playing: Merchants & Marauders, an age of sail game where you can make a living as an honest merchant, or make your friends flip the table when you take their ship as a pirate.
Venue: Board Game Barrister
Location: Greenfield, Bayshore, South Milwaukee
The space: These brightly light, clean stores show just how far the gaming store has come from the crypt-like hobby shops of yesteryear.
The special bonus: These stores also sell plenty of toys and educational stuff, so your kids will have something to do while you make your Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition character.
Milwaukee Record recommends playing: X-Wing Miniatures, which takes moments to learn, a lifetime to master, but allows you to make all the same noises you made with your Star Wars toys as a kid in a tournament setting.
Venue: Game Universe
Location: Franklin, Menomonee Falls, Brookfield
The space: These stores mix board games, miniatures, and RPGs into a space with plenty of tables and people looking to play.
The special bonus: All-day mini-tournaments mean the next game of Zombie Dice is just an hour away.
Milwaukee Record recommends playing: The Living Card Game Android: Netrunner lets players live out their fantasies of being rebellious hackers and the slick suits trying to crush the cyberpunks, depending on the time of day.
Venue: UberDork Cafe
Location: Menomonee Falls
The space: A big space built for whole families of nerds mixing in geeky activities from all walks of life.
The special bonus: Gaming-themed movies will be shown all day. Sorry, Rhianna fans, no Battleship, though.
Milwaukee Record recommends playing: Family games don’t have to be boring. Tsuro is fast, beautiful, and brutal.
Venue: Milwaukee Public Library – East Branch
Location: East Side
The space: This gorgeous mixed-use building will offer a chance to try out some new games in a relaxed environment while still being walking distance from some excellent watering holes.
The special bonus: The library won the What’s Your Game Plan video contest and will have a big pile of swag on hand donated from Geek & Sundry to play, give away, and flaunt.
Milwaukee Record recommends playing: Be sure to check out the exclusive edition of Dead Of Winter for a zombie experience that makes The Walking Dead look like a romantic comedy.